The Making of Me

December 1, 1995 in Makati City, a woman named Gemma Man-on Dumagpi gave birth to her first born with Joel T. Dumagpi and that baby is me. As far as I could remember, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel the love of my parents. They raised me to be a God-fearing and responsible individual. Couple of years later, my mom gave birth to my sister, Jeannyffer Kaye Kazzandra M. Dumagpi, and to our brother, Joel Gem Karlo M. Dumagpi. We are so close to each other because we are just born two years apart.

We often have quarrels but with our mom reprimanding us, we resolve the problem immediately. There is one instance when my brother punched a hole on one of my mother’s important I. D. and because of that, she had to punish the one who did that but no one admitted the sin so she sent us to the balcony of our house and let us stay there until the night falls. Because we were too young and we were afraid of the dark those days, the three of us decided to talk seriously about the matter and our youngest admitted that he did it.

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We said our deep apology to our mom and she, having been so merciful, let us in. For almost fifteen years, we have to live far from our father who had to work far from us due to the nature of his job as being a soldier of the AFP. Living in a huge house, playing around with other kids, getting whatever we wished to have – this has been the way that I lived for the first five years of my existence. One day, I started to have an idea of how cruel life can be when I and my family had to move to Ilang, Davao City from San Miguel, Bulacan.

Some of the reasons for this to happen involves financial incapability of my parents to send me and my sister to a good school and because our place was frequently visited by typhoons that causes floods and destroys livelihood. Upon entering Davao, I had to do a lot of adjustments just like coping with the weather, smaller house, culture of people and the dialect used in conversing with one another.

I first went to a small Private Christian School on the first four years of my study, but eventually transferred to a public elementary school where I first saw the real world of strangers – for the school was very huge that is provides the need for education of about four thousand elementary students. I developed mental skills and abilities by joining competitions that aims to enhance knowledge such as Math and Science Quiz Bees. I made friends with many people, young and old, with my bright personality and bubbly attitude.

After four years, I graduated valedictorian and awarded with leadership award. I went to a Private High School as an academic scholar. On my first months of school, I made intimate friendship with thirteen other girls in the class and together we were called “Karingga” and called each other “gags”. Although we are not doing anything wrong with other people, we were often misunderstood by others and this misunderstanding causes quarrels between us and them. When we were still in our first year, we had a clash with the sophomore students just because they said that they don’t like how we walk together.

There came a point when they’ve already starting attacking us physically and that’s when we decided to go to the guidance office so that it would stop. In the office, the teachers took our side and it caused the other group to stop bothering us but that situation didn’t stop the other groups. As years gone by, the teachers were losing their confidence with us because we were getting more and more involved with troubles. It came to a point when they wanted our group to be broken so that we will not influence others.

Of course, we cannot do that, so instead of listening to other people, we just focused our attention with our studies and friendship. Our group comprises half of the honor’s list in our room. This is something I could be proud of with us, we value education so much. Every afternoon, we hold a small talk within our group which is also open to other people; this is a small bible study and sharing. Because of this, we learned to respect other religion because we have different religious beliefs. Apart from these, we also do some naughty things as what other teens do.

With them I did stupid things but we also learned different lessons in life together. Once, because our school is so strict about students coming in and out of the school, we had to go secretly into a passage to go outside just to skip classes and watch a movie. We sometimes encounter inevitable fights that didn’t break us, instead, made our friendship even stronger. A turning point in my life happened when I failed to be the top one in our class during the first grading period in my first year in high school. From then on, I focused on my studies and swore that I will take it seriously.

Fortunately and blessed by God, I became the first honor from second year up until I graduated valedictorian in my batch. Academics is just one of the few things that made my life challenging. Aside from this, I am also like any other teenagers who had crushes. I admire a guy who excels in academics as well or even those who show interest and pay importance to education. I also look into the guys’ attitude, personality, and appearance – tall, dark and handsome. When I have a crush on a guy, you can obviously see it through me. When my crush is someone that doesn’t know me, usually I stalk him in any way that I know.

I will stare at him, possibly, all day long. I will take pictures of him on my phone. When my crush is someone that I know very well, say a friend, I often just act normal so that I won’t be noticed. I don’t stare. I don’t either stalk him. Usually, he will know if he is my crush when I don’t talk to him that much and I treat him differently in a good way. Actually, I have a crush these days, although, I think, he already had a girlfriend I still admire him. He is an architecture student. Whenever he is around, suddenly I am out of my league. I cannot even move, if I can it will be so fast that I almost run or fly.

He is my ultimate crush. I also have other crush in Computer Engineering course but he doesn’t get me that much with the previous. Although I have crushes, so far, nobody satisfied my standards. I know, in time, God will give me the right person to be with the rest of my life so I am not in a rush anymore to engage in a relationship. Although there were some guys who asked me, I still chose to turn them down so because, I still have no time for it as of the moment. I am just a simple person. I don’t put make up on, dress loudly or wear jewelry. I just wear comfortably.

I walk by myself whenever possible and don’t get along with people too much. I have few but genuine friends. I put sentimental value on everything. I often have mood swings and I easily get annoyed with noisy people and place. I am often described to be “maldita” by those who knew me well. I love the color orange as well as the fruit. I collect Winnie the Pooh stuffed toys ranging from small to big. I also admire Anne Marie Ojales Curtis-Smith. I have pictures of her and I follow her on twitter. I have also liked all pages on Facebook about her.

I have first seen her in person during her concert on Davao last August 2012 but did not get the chance to meet her. I am still looking forward for that moment to come. Whenever I passed by the Roxas Avenue here in Davao I can’t help but look up to the seven-storey building of Ateneo de Davao University. I have said to myself that I will someday study in that university which just happened right now. There were some times that I come to thinking of transferring to a university somewhere in Luzon – ambitiously, UP- Diliman – but as time went, I am learning to love this school more and more each day.

I like the instructors and I love the environment. My experience in this school taught me so many things about life. The first time I stepped on this university, I said to myself that I will always excel on everything up until here. But things turned out so bitter for me when I had my first major failure on a subject. This is not like any other failure that I have gone through because this left a scar on me that hurt a little even now. I failed during the preliminaries. I cried a thousand tears during those days. I almost gave up on everything but God didn’t give up on me.

He is the reason why I am still a regular student now and He also gave me the opportunity to be a Dean’s Lister for two consecutive semesters. God has been my inspiration and failure became my motivation. Mathematics subjects are the most challenging ones and they often drag my grades but I am still hopeful that I can get over them with hard work. Anyway, I am starting to love them. I am working everything off for my dream of being an accomplished Engineer one day. My original choice is to become a Chemical Engineer but my father told me that it would be advantageous someday if I choose a course that is related to technology.

As a result, I enrolled as an Electronics and Communications Engineering student. I thought that I will have a difficulty with this course because in the first place, I was just forced to take this up. Suddenly, I found myself being fond of investigating electronic problems with the appliances in our house. I enjoy the subject ECE101 during the second semester. I became fascinated with robot movies and robotics itself. I am inspired by my ECE teachers who showed how versatile an ECE is. Then I realized that I already fell in love with my course.

I started then dreaming about creating technology such as quick decay garbage machine that will help non-biodegradable garbage, that usually decay a hundred years, to decay as fast as minutes. I will see to it that it will not cause harm to nature such as previous attempts. I also dreamt of creating a machine that uses photosynthesis as a process of purifying air by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. Obviously, my dreams still involves chemical operations which indicate that I still have the interest in chemistry. One day, I want my name to be remembered by generations like my inspirations Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

For me to become the next “them”: I study hard, I work hard, I sleep less, I read more, and I explore. I want to be someone that will not just contribute for the future but will help sustain the future. After all these things that happened in my past and are still happening today, I still have one future to look forward to. Living peacefully in the grass lands of Australia and having a family with either a pilot, doctor or engineer husband. Before I go there, I want to first help the people in my community today. I want to give back to my parents who worked hard just to send me in this excellent university.

I will also help with the other scholars of the university. My main goal is to live my life according how God planned it. Even when these dreams of mine will not be fulfilled, I know God will make me understand. Though I have already planned the way I want my life to go, I still submit to God’s plans. Nevertheless, if not for God, I wouldn’t be the one I am today. I owe everything in him. If He wishes to take away from me, He may do so. God is the reason why I still hold on to this cruel life. God is the reason why Joanna Kazzandra M. Dumagpi exists up to today.

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